INTRODUCTION: Two years after he came to power in a Vietnamese-backed coup, Heng Samrin, the Kampuchean leader, is still facing a struggle, against three guerilla movements.
GV KPNLF patrol in single file through long grass area.
SV Troops continue patrol. (2 SHOTS)
SV KPNLF firing mortars from clearing.
GV Troops on patrol in jungle. (2 SHOTS)
SV KPNLF soldiers examining Vietnamese bunker and equipment. (2 SHOTS)
GV Troops moving out and setting up camp. (2 SHOTS)
SV Troops cooking over open fire and eating meal. (2 SHOTS)
GV Troops moving through jungle.
GV KPNLF base camp with commanders at maps.
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Background: INTRODUCTION: Two years after he came to power in a Vietnamese-backed coup, Heng Samrin, the Kampuchean leader, is still facing a struggle, against three guerilla movements. The Khmer Peoples' National Liberation Front (KPNLF) led by the former Prime Minister, Son Sann, claims to be in control of a strip of territory near the Thai border, and this film shot by his guerrilla force purports to show them in the field on an operation.
SYNOPSIS: The KPNLF is a non-communist opposition group which has been fighting the forces of Heng Samrin since the Vietnamese helped him to power. They claim to be responsible for a string of villages on the Thai border, mainly populated by refugees, embracing over 80,000 people. They also claim to have 10,000 men under arms, although independent sources have suggested that a figure of 7,000 is more accurate. Son Sann has said he has a target of 30,000 soldiers, to oppose the Vietnamese-backed government force of about 200,000. But Son Sann is known to be short of arms. The United States has afforded him only one shipment forces have been rare, with skirmishes involving mortar fire more frequent.
One of the problems the KPNLF faces is that it is not the main guerilla opposition to the government. The role is filled by the forces of the former Kampuchean leader, Pol Pot. His Khmer Rouge forces, also concentrated along the Thai border, represent between 30,000 and 50,000 men under arms. And it is still Pol Pot who still holds Kampuchea's seat at the United Nations. Fighting between the Pol Pot and son San Sann forces has frequently been reported this year, and it is only in recent months that the foreign ministers of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) have come close to bringing the opposition forces together against the Vietnamese enemy. It was near Battambang that the KPNLF claimed to have uncovered this cache of enemy arms.
After adding the captured arms to their won supplies, the KPNLF moved on again. Constant movement and vigilance are essential to their survival. An increased number of clashes has been reported with the government forces, and some western analysts have said it looks as if Heng Samrin is paying more attention to the guerilla positions. For the government, the presence of the guerrillas, including a small number of supporters of the former Prince Sihanouk, is irksome. Heng Samrin cannot claim full control over the country and diplomatic recognition has been withheld by many countries.
The foreign ministers of ASEAN want the KPNLF to unite with the other guerilla factions to press for a political settlement with the government, but so far the Vietnamese-backed regime has shown little interest in the proposal.